Archived posts: Street Art

Never Judge…? at Stolen Space

We nipped over to Brick Lane this weekend to check out the new show at the Stolen Space gallery, Never Judge…? The show features a hundred book cover designs by a huge variety of artists, many of them more usually associated with the street art scene. Each artist was invited to create a one-off artwork cover for a novel of their choice, working to the standard paperback dimensions of 129mm x 198mm. The two above are Dave Kinsey’s cover for Charles Bukowski’s Post Office, and D*Face’s Doomsday Book, from a series of reclaimed books he’s used for the show.

Other artists at the show include Anthony Lister (that’s his cover for Herman Hesse’s Steppenwolf below), Blek Le Rat, Eelus, EINE, and Shepard Fairey.

The show has been put together in association with Penguin, ahead of their new Penguin Essentials series which is due to be launched next April, and the covers for that series are on display too (below), featuring work by book designers and illustrators including John Gray and David Gentleman. You can pick up limited edition gyclee prints of these from the show, though when we were there the majority of the prints on display were still lo-res versions – we’re assuming the prints will be hi-res!

As mentioned in the blurb for the show, the advent of the e-readers (crikey that’s a grim name isn’t it?) like the Kindle and the iPad means that the days of the book cover may be numbered. We’re not entirely convinced by that argument. What we can see happening more is that the book cover will follow the route of the album cover, expanding from a single version out to a whole range of images that gets used across a whole swathe of media – from small thumbnails on Amazon and the iBooks store, to digital covers on the devices themselves, to dedicated websites, as well as short-run high-spec limited edition print versions of the books. Already there’s been a real boom in book-as-object publishing, such as the beautiful editions from Whites Books, where sumptuous production values are paramount. But we really hope that the cheap, disposable paperback doesn’t disappear entirely either.

All the rest of the work from the show is on sale, either as original artworks, or as limited edition prints – check out the full gallery.

LDF10: Outrace

We nipped across to Trafalgar Square last night to check out Outrace, one of the centrepieces of this year’s London Design Festival.

Outrace is a large scale installation of eight industrial robots (on loan from Audi), each of which has a powerful LED head attached to the end of its arm. If you log on to the Outrace website you can submit a message of up to 70 characters which the robots will then recreate in a 3D cursive graffiti font written in light (assuming they deem your message interesting enough – we quite liked “Bow to your robot overlords puny humans” which someone has already posted). Long exposure cameras placed round the base of the installation then capture these interactive light paintings, and display them on screens just below the robots, as well as sending them to their YouTube channel (it’s 2010, nothing exists unless it’s on YouTube), and emailing them back to you. Here’s ours (with a couple of stray characters, guess those robots aren’t infallible…):

The project was designed by Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram, who in the newspaper handed out at the installation are described as being very different from standard ‘professional designers’: “You will know these genteel people by their office pallor and their dainty Apple iPhones. Reed Kram and Clemens Weisshaar do not fit this mould.”

Well boys, judging by your bio shots on the Outrace site, you fit the mould just fine:

To be fair, the newspaper has a fairly tongue-in-cheek tone (in parts – other parts are dripping with painfully sincere academic analysis of the project) so perhaps us genteel folk shouldn’t get too worked up…

The project is evidently mind-blowingly complex as a piece of software engineering, which is all well and good, but what’s the actual experience like?

Well, it’s kinda groovy to have a gang of beautiful robots girating around in Trafalgar Square – you can check out the live stream to see them doing their thing – they’re like a nest of rhythmic vipers, dancing to some unheard tune (Bjork’s All is Full of Love perhaps?) Very beautiful.

As an interactive text piece though it works far better online than it does as a physical piece – when you’re in the square you can’t see the letterforms left by the light traces (unless you photograph them at night as we did, which means taking an SLR and a tripod along), and the screens below the robots showing the messages don’t feel entirely connected to what’s going on above them. And while we were there they’d run out of the explanatory newspapers, which was leaving people in the dark, as it were. The online films are great though, and the graffiti font works well for the kinds of messages that are being sent in (‘Kirstin, I love you with all of my heart. A xxx’ being one of the latest), pleasantly undercutting the mechanical movements of the robots.

All in all a fine centrepiece to the festival. Outrace continues until tomorrow evening (23 September) so get down there sharpish if you want to take a look.

Larger versions of our shots are on Alistair’s LDF10 Flickr set.

Routemaster 2012 unveiled

So the kids over at the mayor’s office have unveiled the ‘iconic final design’ for the new Routemaster buses (here’s their press release on it, and another page with some video and pictures).

Back in December, it was announced that the design competition for the bus had been won by two teams: a collaborative team from Foster & Partners and Aston Martin, and a team from automotive design firm Capoco.

Their designs were then passed to bus manufacturers The Wright Group, who have joined up with the Heatherwick Studio to work on the final design, which should be pulling up at London bus stops sometime in 2012.

It boasts three doorways, two staircases, and a pile of green credentials; interestingly the jump-on-jump-off platform is designed to be closed at ‘quieter times’. We’re guessing that actually means at night, once most of the passengers are drunk.

We’ll have to wait until 2012 to see if the design actually merits the term ‘iconic’, but that list of designers – Fosters, Aston Martin, and Heatherwick – that at least suggests that it might. Doesn’t it?

Hold tight please…

Banksy Summer Show


Looks like that Banksy fellow's got a Summer Show lined up, opening this Saturday, 13 June. The kids over at Vandalog suggest that it might be in Bristol. Stay tuned for more news.

Swifty at No Vacancy


After we recently posted about Swifty, Ken Tan from the urban art online store Project Midas (based in Singapore) got in touch to tell us about the new exhibition of Swifty's work they're hosting at the No Vacancy gallery in Melbourne.

Ken revealed that the show will feature original work, as well as "a remix of the classic Vegemite brand, limited edition prints and t-shirts, plus a live painting of a Suzuki Swift car".

The show runs from 5 to 14 March 2009.



Swifty (you might know him from the MoWax logo, or perhaps the stuff he did on Straight No Chaser magazine) has just done up his website, and has got a selection of tasty bits and bobs there: some prints, some fonts, some shots of his street-art playtime. All worth a shufty.

Wireframe Lamborghini


How yummy is this?

A life-size wireframe model of a Lamborghini Countach. In flouro orange.

We caught sight of it on Saturday over at The Classic Car Club on Old St. It's the work of artist Benedict Radcliffe, and you can read more about it on this Jalopnik post.


Pictures on Walls Open Weekend


Hmmm. Wonder if this will be insanely busy, or just ridiculously busy?

The folks at Pictures on Walls – they're the go-to-guys for Banksy's work, and put on Santa's Ghetto each year – are having an open-weekend at their print studio in Shoreditch.

They're having a lottery where four people will win an edition of Banksy's 'Very Little Helps' print, and the next hundred get first refusal on buying a copy. Which is gonna guarantee queues round the block, particularly with the tickets just a quid each, and proceeds going to Sightsavers International.

We'd be far more chuffed to get one of Antony Micallef's prints though. Lovemaker (above) and Bethlehem (below) are both up for grabs in the same way as Banksy's. The prints were created from originals painted by Micallef after last year's Santa's Ghetto in Jerusalem. Banksy might drum up the headlines, but Micallef is the man. You can pick up a tasty book of his stuff over at Lazarides.


There's going to be a stack of other new work, and there was talks of tours round their studio too. It all happens from 11am to 7pm on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 December at the POW Studio, 16 Willow Street, London EC2A 4BH.

See you in the queue.

Mutate Britain


We made our way across to Cordy House on Curtain Road on Friday evening to catch first show in the new Behind the Shutters gallery that's just opened on the site.

And as first shows go, it's a belter. Mutate Britain is hosted by the Mutoid Waste Company - you might have caught their huge junkyard sculptures and performances at Glastonbury – and there are some incredible pieces MWC members Joe Rush and Giles Walker (including Rush's Home Guard, above).

It's a great exhibition – a bit like a fantastic degree show in a squat. Arranged over four floors, it's got a mix of sculpture, prints, installations, performances, and even a live screenprinting area run by Print Club. Check out Alistair's Flickr set for more exhibition goodness.


The gallery is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 1.30pm to 10pm, and it looks like the show will be running until Sunday 21 December.

Thanks be to Adam

Adam_neateIf you were out and about between dusk last Friday and dawn on the Saturday morning, you might well have noticed some folk scouring the streets with a hungry look in their eye. Or perhaps you caught sight of the source of that look, one of the 1,000 screenprints that Adam Neate (and his teams of helpers) had distributed around London during the evening, creating his London Show. Each print featured the same image, in a range of colours, and hand-finished with stamps and staples.

Neate used to give away all his art like this, back before he became a big name on the street art scene – though back then he'd manage maybe a thousand pieces in a year, rather than the same number in just one night.

The prints were dropped all across the city, sealed in polythene to stop them getting soaked (though in the event the weather stayed fairly dry). Alistair took a ride round Lambeth in the insanely early hours of Saturday morning to look for one and within minutes of hitting the streets he spotted a girl running gleefuly back to a waiting car with a print in her hands. An hour of hunting later he bagged the print above, finding it face down in Brixton's skatepark.

The prints are already showing up on Ebay, though Adam Neate says he's cool with this. There are 22 available on there at the time of writing, and they're going for up to £640 at the moment, which is a nice little Christmas present for the folks who found prints. This chap found nine of them, which is either highly resourceful or a tad greedy depending on your standpoint. 

Read more about it all in this Independent article.

We're wondering how many of the thousand were found, how many were binned by cleaners, and how many are still out there… Anyway, we think it's a great way of spreading some goodness; and wanted to say a big thank-you to Mr Neate.